• Yoga mats have many purposes, not just yoga. These mats can be used for Pilates, or some people even use the mats as a place to lay on a gym floor to allow them to do abdominal workouts or claim an area that might be highly populated in the gym.
  • You’ll experience a different type of grip on these yoga mats because they are specifically designed to be used to prevent hands and feet from slipping during practice. The mats are frequently used for in home use or at a studio but can also be used outdoors on different types of surfaces.
  • Germs and odors will be the least of your worries when it comes to these mats because the bacteria can be easily wiped away with just a mild soap and cloth. The closed cell construction prevents bacteria and odors from absorbing into the mat.

Four suggestions to finding a perfect Yoga Mat

THICKNESS

Choosing a thickness of a mat is important for many reasons. First, comfortability is essential when selecting your yoga mat. A thicker mat will allow you to be more relaxed. It also allows people with pains in their back, legs or arms to have a more serene session. Thicker mats also may prevent many strainful injuries that could happen to the body. For example, weakened wrist due to lesser support.

If selecting a mat that is on the thinner side, it will provide you with a more surface-based feeling. This meaning if you are on the beach the sand becomes the ground, and the mat is there for covering. The thinner types of mats are more efficient and allow more space when traveling.

The standard size of a yoga mat tends to be about 1/8 inches thick. Some mats may vary from 1/2 inch, which provides more comfort, to the thinnest mats at about 1/16 inch allowing for a more grounded feel.

Essential buying guide to consider when choosing a size for your mat: are you going to be always traveling with this? Is this mat going to be used at home where it could have potential not to relocate? And what is your sweet spot of comfort?

MATERIAL

The material of a mat is crucial when considering what type to buy. Materials used in the mat dictates the texture, stickiness, eco-friendliness, sponginess and how it wears over time. Having a material that best suits your lifestyle is important and should be taken into consideration when purchasing a mat.

Most standard yoga mats are made of PVC, otherwise known as vinyl. Have a newer, more earth-friendly options include natural and recycled rubber, jute, and organic cotton or natural cotton. This meaning, the fabric is not usually treated with synthetic finishes during manufacturing.

Basic buying guidelines: If you’re allergic to latex, avoid yoga mats made of natural rubber. If you want to stick with the tried and true sticky mat, choose a yoga mat made out of PVC, which can endure your use and abuse for more than a decade. Sponginess can vary widely with different blends of materials, but in general, PVC has the most “give” of any yoga mat material; jute and cotton have the least.

Beyond these fundamentals, read on and let your other priorities — texture, stickiness, and eco-friendliness — be your guides.

TEXTURE

The surface of your mat is important to understand because it provides traction for you. The overall stickiness of the yoga mat will prevent you from slipping and sliding across the surface. Texture also affects the way a yoga mat feels, so it becomes an overall component of comfort.

Texture can be either human-made or dictated by the materials. A pattern of raised bumps, for example, a jute yoga mat has a slight roughness to them. Some yoga mats are usually textured and have a smooth feel.

Options: There are yoga mat textures to suit every person’s needs — from very sleek and smooth to very textured with ridges and grooves.

Basic buying guidelines: If you’re looking for a yoga mat that prevents slipping look for rubber, jute, or cotton yoga mat that has a raised, tactile pattern. The added grip the raised texture provides can help you stay put no matter how sweaty or vigorous your practice gets.

If you prefer stickiness but are curious about the newer, more earth-friendly options, try to test drive a few before you buy. Some of the eco-friendly yoga mats may surprise you with how much traction they provide even though they don’t have the traditional “sticky” feel.

STICKINESS

Why is stickiness important? Having a sticky yoga mat keeps you from sliding all over the surface and helps allow you maintain your position as you move from one pose to another, as well as when you hold poses for several seconds. Having a grip that holds to the floor is essential while picking a mat and using it at home or in a Yoga Class at your local fitness facility.

Learn about the benefits of Yoga for the elderly.